The Wheel of Life

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 May 1954

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The lovely Elinor was becoming quite inventive in framing this monastery and round tower in the spokes of a wheel. A really nice shot with lots of building and even a cow, though no dog, for our delectation on a cold, wet and windy Friday!!!

Photographer: Elinor Wiltshire

Collection: Wiltshire Photographic Collection

Date: 1954 May

NLI Ref: WIL k2[54]

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 16778
elinorwiltshire rolleiflexcamera rolleiflex wiltshirephotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland elinoro’brienwiltshire monastery wheel spokes roundtower galway kilmacduagh

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    • 28/Feb/2020 08:26:41

    Probably Kilmacduagh monastery, Co. Galway

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    catb -

    • 28/Feb/2020 08:34:29

    Kilmacduagh taken in 2014!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 28/Feb/2020 08:38:15

    In Abbeyview 2009, we see that the wheel is gone, the wall is repaired and the cow has fecked off. On the 25" OSI, the building at right (with cow) is labelled Shanclogh Glebe House, with next the Church of John the Baptist, behind it Templemore or Cathedral, finally Clogans or Round Tower

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    Dr. Ilia

    • 28/Feb/2020 09:00:05


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    • 28/Feb/2020 09:21:55

    From ... According to legend, Saint Colman MacDuagh was walking through the woods of the Burren when his girdle fell to the ground. Taking this as a sign, he built his monastery on that spot. The girdle was said to be studded with gems and was held by the O'Shaughnessys centuries later, along with St. Colman's crozier, or staff. The girdle was later lost, but the crozier came to be held by the O'Heynes and may now be seen in the National Museum of Ireland. ... It is said that, in the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, no man will ever die from lightning. This legend was put to the test when one unlucky soul was struck, but the force of the bolt made him fly through the air into neighbouring County Clare, where he died. ... The round tower is notable both as a fine example of this particularly Irish feature but also because of its noticeable lean, over half a metre from the vertical. The tower is over 30 metres (98 feet 5 inches) tall, according to measurements taken in 1879,[6] with the only doorway some 7 metres above ground level. The tower probably dates from the 10th century. See this old print at the NLI -

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    • 28/Feb/2020 09:24:33

    Droneview! -

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Feb/2020 09:35:15 Is the tower leaning or is a "piece a" the wheel leaning?

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    • 28/Feb/2020 11:20:04

    "The tallest standing of the ancient round towers. It has 11 windows (more than any other tower) and the door is 8m from the ground (higher than any other tower) Leans 1.02m from the vertical." A different set of measurements from Wikipedia I think it's now accepted that their true function was that of a bell tower (Clogans, their Irish name) rather than as a refuge for marauding Vikings. I liked that second explanation better.

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    • 28/Feb/2020 11:58:05

    [] The leaning tower of Pizza ! ; P The tower and churches were 'restored' in 1879. Via Trove this fascinating contemporary account of finding older skeletons under the tower foundations - This earlier (1868) article suggests "The round tower is especially remarkable from its leaning seventeen feet out of the perpendicular, and it is certainly a most singular object...." - (top of column 3). Like the old NLI print linked above. I wonder if Mr Lawrence was good enough to do 'before and after' photos?

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Feb/2020 15:16:36 Brilliant.

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    • 01/Mar/2020 12:57:51

    Nice title! Very artistic too.